, PANTS
   For decades in England no gentleman would dare be seen wearing what were mockingly called pantaloons. No less a national hero than the Duke of Wellington was refused admittance to a club because he was wearing long pants rather than the breeches and silken hose expected of a member of royalty or another person of high rank. The pants worn in America by almost every man and many women is an abbreviation of pantaloons. The forebear of these articles of dress can be traced to the baggy trousers worn by a character in the Italian commedia dell'arte. A physician had been the patron saint of Venice—San Pantaleone. (The literal meaning is "all lion." Pan means all, and leone is "lion.") Pantaleone in the comedies was an elderly buffoon interested only in lechery, but who was usually outwitted by the women. He was always played as an emaciated dotard, wearing spectacles, one-piece, skintight breeches, and stockings that bloomed out above the knees. The passing years has transmogrified this patron saint of Venice into a lovable but simpleminded character in Italian comedy.
   With a slight orthographic change to pantaloon, his name was then equated with "clown." The word in plural form (pantaloons) subsequently entered the English language to describe a particular type of trousers. As fashions changed, pantaloons became the name of various types of trousers over the years. In time it was used in the shortened form of pants as the designation for trousers in general.

Dictionary of eponyms. . 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • pantaloons — ► PLURAL NOUN 1) women s baggy trousers gathered at the ankles. 2) historical men s close fitting breeches fastened below the calf or at the foot. ORIGIN from Pantalone, a character in Italian commedia dell arte represented as a foolish old man… …   English terms dictionary

  • pantaloons — (n.) 1660s, kind of tights (originally a French fashion and execrated as such by late 17c. English writers), associated with Pantaloun (1580s), silly old man character in It. comedy who wore tight trousers over his skinny legs, from It. Pantalone …   Etymology dictionary

  • pantaloons — UK [ˌpæntəˈluːnz] US [ˌpænt(ə)lˈunz] noun [plural] old fashioned long wide trousers that are narrow at the bottom Thesaurus: trousers and shortshyponym …   Useful english dictionary

  • pantaloons — [[t]pæ̱ntəlu͟ːnz[/t]] N PLURAL Pantaloons are long trousers with very wide legs, gathered at the ankle. Hallah wears the stylish tunic and pantaloons common in Kurdistan …   English dictionary

  • pantaloons — noun An article of clothing covering each leg separately, that covers the area from the waist to the ankle. See Also: pantaloon …   Wiktionary

  • pantaloons — (Roget s IV) n. Syn. pants, trousers, breeches, knickers; see clothes , pants 1 …   English dictionary for students

  • pantaloons — pan|ta|loons [ˌpæntəˈlu:nz] n [plural] old fashioned [Date: 1600 1700; : French; Origin: Pantalon Pantaloon , character in a humorous play who wore such pants, from Old Italian Pantaleone] long trousers with wide legs, that become tight at the… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • pantaloons — pan|ta|loons [ ,pæntl unz ] noun plural old fashioned long wide pants that become narrow …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • pantaloons — pæntÉ™ luːns n. trousers, pants …   English contemporary dictionary

  • pantaloons — women s baggy trousers gathered at the ankles. → pantaloon …   English new terms dictionary

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